Democracies in Transition Summary
This course component will examine the history of both the Velvet Revolution of Czechoslovakia followed by the peaceful Velvet Divorce of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. It will also detail the challenges, struggles and successes of establishing the civil society of the Slovak Republic in the years following. These experiences will be measured with other countries seeking to develop democratically and peacefully in the same manner.
Professor: Dr. Pavol Demeš
Pavol Demeš (58) is an internationally recognized NGO leader based in Bratislava, Slovakia. Prior to the “Velvet Revolution” in November 1989, Demeš was a bio-medical researcher at Comenius University in Bratislava. He is a graduate ofCharles University in Prague (1980). After democratic changes in 1989heserved as the Executive Director of the Slovak Academic Information Agency-Service Center for the Third Sector, a leading NGO in the country. He also served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of the Slovak Republic (1993-97), and from 1991-92 he was the Slovak Minister of International Relations. In 1999 he was awarded a six-month public policy research fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. Since 2000 until September 2010 he was the Director for Central and Eastern Europe of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Now he is non-resident senior fellow with GMF US. He is also external advisor to the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and was elected to the executive committee of the European Endowment for Democracy.
Demeš has served on boards of numerous domestic and international non-profit organizations, among others: the European Foundation Center, European Cultural Foundation, European Council on Foreign Relations. He played key role in EU’s civil society development program (PHARE) in Slovakia and democratization efforts in the Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries. In last two years he visited several Arab countries where he spoke on civil society issues. He is accomplished photographer and author.
– The EU-US Democracy and Civil Society Award (1998)
– USAID Democracy and Governance Award(1999)
– Royal Dutch decorationKnight of the Order of Orange Nassau (2005)
– Yugoslav Star of First Class (2005)
– South East Europe Media Organization Human RightsAward (2009)
– Medal of Honor from the Friends of Slovakia (2011)